Control measure – Use tactical advisers and responsible person

Control Measure Knowledge

See National Operational Guidance: Incident Command – Situational awareness

A responsible person may be nominated by the relevant agency and should have the required competence and knowledge of the transport infrastructure hazards and risks to provide timely and accurate information. The responsible person or agency for an incident in the transport environment will vary depending on the type and context of the incident. Identifying a responsible person or agency may give the incident commander access to a range of information sources and expertise that will support in developing a safe and effective tactical plan.


The agencies that should be considered for liaison include:

  • The aerodrome fire service
  • Aerodrome mangers
  • Airlines
  • Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB)
  • Military agencies


Network Rail will not always appoint a railway incident officer (RIO) to incidents affecting the railway. This will depend on the nature of the incident and if in doubt incident commanders should request their assistance. It is the role of the RIO to liaise with and advise the incident commander on safety issues relating to staff working on or adjacent to the permanent way. For further information on the permanent way see Hazard – Complexity of the rail infrastructure.

The railway incident officer (RIO) will assist with the identification of rail specific hazards and may provide options for removing or reducing hazards. Different rail infrastructures have assigned the responsible person with different titles, such as train operating liaison officer (TOLO) and station incident officer (SIO). An attending Network Rail mobile operations manager (MOM) may be in attendance and assigned the role of a RIO if required.

Rail incident officer (RIO) Network Rail

The railway incident officer (RIO) is the nominated and certified individual responsible for on-site command and control of all rail-related operations. Not normally on-site before the arrival of the fire and rescue services, they will be nominated to attend incidents that are likely to have a serious impact on the rail network.

The railway incident officer will be able to:

  • Provide information to the incident commander on rail safety matters
  • Arrange for specialist rail workers, engineers, contractors and equipment to be moved to the scene
  • Obtain specialist information on the infrastructure
  • Arrange for the delivery of extra equipment such as rail trolleys, generators, cranes and welfare facilities
  • Liaise with the incident commander to provide options for partial or complete restoration of services
  • Assess the suitability of control measures implemented
  • Co-ordinate the phased reopening of rail lines


Depending on the type of roadway involved, the responsibility could lie with the local authority, the appropriate highways agency or another body. Where the severity of the incident places a restriction on the normal operation of the roadway or there is damage to the infrastructure, the incident commander should ensure that contact is made with the relevant authority.


The responsible person should have intimate and comprehensive knowledge of the vessel and the hazards within the waterways environment. They may also have access to other tactical advisers able to provide additional information that may be useful to the incident commander, such as information on stability, cargo and hazardous materials.

There will be a need to liaise with the port/harbour master if available, as well as the owner or captain of the vessel. Appropriate communications will need to be set up and they should consider vessel size, location and interaction between all attending agencies and port authorities.

Many different types of organisation can operate within port boundaries, including cargo terminal operators, passenger terminal operators, leisure marinas, boat builders and commercial fishing. Under UK legislation, the waterways of many ports are the responsibility of the local port authority, which is managed by a harbour master.

There may be memoranda of understanding (MoUs) between the fire and rescue service and the port authority to ensure the correct information has been collated at the earliest opportunity to improve the service response.

The incident commander should liaise with the port controller, harbour master or ship’s master at the earliest opportunity to understand the emergency within the waterways environment. This would include gathering information on the number of passengers and crew involved, the size, type and construction of the vessel and passing this information to fire and rescue service control using the following format:

  • Type e.g. ferry, tanker or cargo
  • Name
  • Tonnage
  • Location (quay or berth number)
  • Cargo
  • Location and extent of any fire hazard
  • Summary of resources (what’s in use)

Strategic Actions

Tactical Actions